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Three Fundamental Problems with Generative AI in PR and Marketing | eWEEK

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ChatGPT, the AI-powered chatbot, launched by San Francisco-based OpenAI has taken the world of B2B Marketing and PR by storm. Amassing over 100 million users, the platform has out-performed the likes of TikTok and Instagram and placed itself firmly at the top spot as the fastest growing web platform, ever.

So, where do B2B communications sit in all the hype and glory of ChatGPT? A wake-up call or are the doomsayers right? Well, PR and Marketing have three issues that will affect the Generative AI game in the coming years.

The generative AI race is well and truly on – and it’s certainly got tongues wagging. Research into how professionals will look to use ChatGPT revealed mixed opinions – some wish to avoid the platform, some have already made good use. Let’s take a look at the three key issues.

Also see: Top Generative AI Apps and Tools

1) So, Who’s Copying Who?

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The media is all over ChatGPT, but as B2B PR and Marketing professionals, our attention should be placed on human generated copy and how marketing-speak has grown into what already sounds like computer-generated discourse.

The issue isn’t that machines write like humans – it’s that humans are beginning to write like machines. ChatGPT should serve as a wakeup call for PR and Marketing professionals to stop writing in marketing lingo and start using words to convey ideas and thoughts.

From an infinite number of monkeys writing Shakespeare, to the WSJ’s first Buzz Word Generator, to Chat GPT, artificial intelligence has gotten better, but actually not fundamentally changed in its basic capabilities.

ChatGPT is the ultimate wordsmith – we’ve all read press releases and articles that spew out words that sound compelling but say nothing – ‘I see the words, but what do they mean’ is a phrase often used in my company.

Many writers, bloggers, and content creators are producing copy with no interest in the subject of the copy. A machine can do that, and do it rather well!

Also see: Generative AI Companies: Top 12 Leaders

2) There’s Still Some Things ChatGPT Can’t Do – and Won’t Ever

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PR and Marketing agencies must be more than just wordsmiths. Quality writing is fueled by intention – we are trying to deliver subliminal corporate messaging in our press releases that gets across more than just a product launch. Coherence isn’t enough, communication is more complex and precise.

B2B professionals bring unique skills, perspectives, and relationships that cannot be replaced by AI. Often a single piece of content needs to support a number of different precisely targeted audiences – an editor, a buyer, and a C-level ratifier. Try telling that to ChatGPT!

The tool can assist with many tasks but there are three essential components of effective PR and Marketing: creativity, critical thinking, and the emotional intelligence that ChatGPT lacks.

We humans are born to think outside the box, to come up with completely new and original ideas. Thinking outside the box is impossible for ChatGPT – it is the box.

These limitations highlight the complementary nature of AI and human B2B professionals. AI can perform certain tasks faster and more efficiently, but the human brain brings a unique skillset that is critical to effective Marketing and PR practices.

Critical thinking is fundamental to understand causes from correlations, understand where bias is and remove it, and distinguish between a primary source and someone’s personal opinion. We know the distinction between our truth versus their truth gets muddier by the day, but the human brain can figure it out!

Selling new and original developments and solutions require targeting copy at different audiences with different needs. This requires critical thinking – something robots can’t do. AI chatbots can’t ‘read into a situation.’ Our human emotional intellect makes us able to understand and handle an interaction or debate that needs more emotional communication methods.

But emotional intelligence isn’t all ChatGPT is lacking.

3) Staying Legal and Ethical – Complications Ahead

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Trust is a critical aspect of ChatGPT for the user to believe that their generated text is factually correct. With people and machines creating tens of millions of new web pages daily, will using machine-generated content be pivotal in enabling your organization to stand out from the rest, or cause copyright troubles?

Google’s position on AI-produced content is clear – companies that use AI-generated content to manipulate ranking in search results will violate their spam policies. So, where should B2B PR and Marketers stand?

Clearly trust is ChatGPT’s biggest weakness. Unlike Google, you don’t know the source of the information, you can’t judge based on the type of site or the experience of the author. Google’s system of basing quality on the number of citations of an article isn’t in place. Further research is going to be needed and this will take time, so people will still return to trusted sources and expertise.

The U.S. Copyright Office has now launched a new initiative to examine the copyright law and policy issues raised by artificial intelligence (AI), including the scope of copyright in works generated using AI tools and the use of copyrighted materials in AI training. The Copyright Office says this initiative has been launched “in direct response to the recent striking advances in generative AI technologies and their rapidly growing use by individuals and businesses.” And this begins right at the input stage, not the output.

ChatGPT and similar software use existing text, images, and code to create ‘new’ work. The technology must get its ideas from somewhere, which means trawling the web to ‘train’ and ‘earn’ from pre-existing content. OpenAI and similar alternatives have already been subject to many lawsuits, arguing that AI tools are illegally using other people’s work to build their platforms.

With the PR Council also weighing in on this issue, all we can do is wait for official guidance and standards on the use of AI in PR. For now, communications pros are urged to apply caution to any external-facing use of output from ChatGPT.

On a related topic: The AI Market: An Overview 

It’s Time to Work Together – Not Against!

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B2B PR and Marketing professionals can undoubtedly reap many benefits from the phenomenon that is OpenAI’s ChatGPT technology – from providing valuable data-driven insights to streamlining repetitive tasks – and it certainly presents a prime opportunity to keep innovating as the technology matures.

B2B pros should treat AI as a complementary tool to achieve a higher level of consumer engagement.

Good PR and Marketing Pros must foster imagination and creativity, strategic and critical thinking, and emotional intelligence to ensure their strategies and their content stay ahead of the competition.

About the Author: 

Judith Ingleton-Beer, CEO of IBA International


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